The not too hot yet not too cool sun glittered over the Genbu Ravine, dominating the eastern skies. Scattered within were several kappa shacks, all filled with silently snoring kappa, all but one, where Hina was slowly flying towards. She yawned as she landed in front of the small shack, hearing a mess of clanging metal inside.
Oh dear, what does Nitori want to do this early…
She stepped up towards the door and softly knocked.
“In a minnnuuutte~!”
The clanging suddenly stopped as she heard bootsteps hurry over to the door. It swung open to Nitori looking up at Hina, eyes stained with a bit of sleep, but active nonetheless.
“Nitori, did you get any sleep-”
“Hina!” She quickly lurched forward and gave her a quick hug. “Thanks for coming on such short notice!” She tugged Hina into her home. Inside, several contraptions and pieces of scrap were carelessly shoved off into the sides of her shack. In comparison, the center of the room looked immaculate; A small counter with a few bowls and strange devices sat spotlessly waiting to be used for the day’s activities.
“And no, I didn’t get any sleep! I tried to, but that soda stuff I had last time gave me all this extra energy!”
Hina peered towards the back of the room, finding a small stack of plastic bottles.
“Do you think that’s healthy?”
“Ah who cares, it gave me enough time to get ready! Now hold on…”
She zoomed around the counter, shuffling through an assortment of items before pulling out a box with a delicious looking chocolate cake printed on the front.
“At first I thought this stuff was cake in a box, but I showed it to other kappa and they told me that it was actually cake mix!”
Hina walked towards the counter, closely examining the box.
“Do you mix it and it makes a cake?”
“Close actually.” She procured a small list. “The kappa I showed it to sold me all this stuff we need to bake the cake.”
Hina’s face lit up. “Baking you say? How wonderful! Where do we start?”
Nitori hopped atop the counter. “Ingredients! I was able to get some vegetable oil, but we’re still missing two important ingredients: Eggs and milk.”
“Oh, I don’t think I have any of those at all, but we can always-”
“Not to worry! I already planned how we can get these ingredients! Just follow me!”
She quickly tugged Hina by the arm out the door and took flight, heading straight for the Youkai Mountain.
As the sun climbed higher and higher into the sky, the duo peered from the bushes at Bunbunmaru Newspaper Headquarters, which was nothing more than a small house settled around the foot of Youkai Mountain. Hina stared worryingly at Nitori.
“Uh, Nitori? I don’t think we can find eggs here.”
“Nonesense! We all know Aya lives here, and you know what birds lay, right?”
“…Eggs… But Nitori, I don’t think she’ll-”
“Exactly. This is our ticket to some free eggs! Come on!”
She quickly leapt out of the bushes and pushed a window open, with Hina reluctantly following behind. The room they stood in was small, with nothing more than a desk, chair, a printing press, a few cabinets and a few other writing tools. Nitori yanked out every drawer and flung open every cabinet, letting a mess of pens, ink, and paper fly about the room.
She suddenly froze mid-tearing through another cabinet.
“This is her office, I don’t think she’d keep anything food-related in here…”
“Ah, right right… I think I got a bit too excited-”
Suddenly the door to the office flung open, Aya standing there with shock plastered on her face. The other two froze as she took in the mess of paper and ink scattered around the room. Nitori suddenly lurched forward, tackling her, pinning her towards the wall.
“Hina, hurry! Go find the eggs and let’s run!”
Suddenly shock turned to pure rage as she summoned a blast of wind at Nitori, sending her toppling into the desk.
“EGGS? YOU BROKE INTO MY OFFICE AND RUINED THE PLACE FOR SOME EGGS? DID YOU FORGET A MARKET EXISTS?”
Hina quickly ran inbetween the two, smiling and bowing profusely.
“I’m sorry, this is all just a big misunderstanding, please forgive us.”
Nitori clambered back to her feet.
“Well… I’m kinda broke and didn’t wanna cause you any trouble Hina…”
She turned towards her.
“Nitori…” She glanced behind her noticing her apology had no effect on the enraged tengu. She quickly yanked nitori up and zoomed out of the office as another blast of air followed. Aya tried to fly out the window as well, but her foot suddenly caught on the edge of the frame, sending her tumbling into the bushes with a crash that resounded through the forest. The two froze at the sight and giggled to each other, quickly flying out of the area. Minutes passed and Aya finally recovered from the crash, feeling something strange stuck to her shirt: A shattered amulet filled with misfortune.
The two finally touched down at a bustling tengu market, stopping off at a stand to buy a small box of eggs, Hina paying what little donations she received for it. After feeling around her pockets for any extra, her face gloomed up as she realized she couldn’t afford any milk. She turned to Nitori with the eggs in hand.
“I’m sorry Nitori, this is all I can really afford. Do you think we can make this with something other than milk?”
Nitori happily took the eggs and placed them on the ground. She took out a strange bubbly sheet from her bag and wrapped the box up, then placing the box in her bag.
“The kappa said we NEEDED milk, and not to worry, I got a plan on getting milk right from the source! You see, I know where a cow lives!”
“A cow? I don’t think I know any cow youkai… Oh dear…”
“Nitori, I don’t think any youkai would go to school, let alone a cow…”
The duo stood outside a schoolhouse within the youkai village.
“See, the cow doesn’t attend, the cow RUNS the school?”
“You mean Keine?” Hina quickly whacked her on the head. “That’s rude of you to call her that!”
Nitori rubbed her head. “Owww…. I mean like one night, I noticed that she had big horns similar to a cow’s!”
“So she has to have some milk! It’s only common sense-”
“Nitori, not this again… Look, let’s try this my way.”
Hina walked up to the school door and knocked on the door. Moments later, Keine answered, smiling.
“Hello there Hina! What brings you here to the village?”
“Well, you see, I haven’t been getting many donations recently, and I need a simple bottle of milk. Would it be all right if I could have one?”
Keine brought her hands up to her mouth.
“Oh, I’m sorry… Here hold on, I can spare a bottle for you.”
She hurried deeper into the schoolhouse. Hina turned behind her, giving a thumbs up to Nitori. She smiled wider in response. Keine soon returned with a nice chilled bottle of milk. Hina took it.
“Thank you very much Keine! I’ll see you later!”
“Take care Hina!”
She hurried to Nitori.
“See, much easier, right?”
Nitori smugly smiled, crossing her arms.
“I told you she was a cow!”
“I’m a WHAT NOW?”
A fuming Keine charged right in front of her, staring down at the Kappa.
“A uh… um… uhhh…”
Keine quickly yanked her up and gave her a devastating headbutt. Dropping the dazed kappa, she marched back into her schoolhouse. Hina stared down at her.
“I told you, it’s not very nice to call her that. Especially Keine of all people…”
As the sun now dominated the top of the sky, the duo had returned to Nitori’s shack, Nitori mixing all of the ingredients into a bowl and Hina happily stirring away with the strange metal mixing device. Soon the cake mix became a liquid brown and Hina carefully poured it into a mold. She turned to Nitori who was looking worryingly at the list.
“Nitori, what else do we need to do now?”
Suddenly worry turned to clarity as she stared to Hina.
“We need to head to the nuclear fusion plant!”
Hina nearly dropped the mold.
“Excuse me, uh… Why?”
“These instructions say we need to heat this thing up to around two-hundred and eighteen degrees celsius. Do you know how hot that is?”
“I’m not too sure…”
“VERY hot. A normal fire won’t do and I can’t afford any fancy stove right now, so only ONE place can get that hot!”
Hina crossed her arms.
“Isn’t that going to get us in big trouble?”
“No problem at all! I worked there before, so they’ll be okay with me entering!”
“But Nitori, that’s far too hot for you… Here, let me take the cake down there. The heat won’t bother me at least.”
“Aw, thanks again Hina! I’ll measure the temperature and time, so get out when I yell for you!”
The two thankfully managed to enter the fusion plant without much issue, passing by a few of the underground denizens along the way. Many were curious as to what the duo were doing, and one was extra envious when they told their intentions. With a megaphone in hand and thermometer in the other, the two finally reached the top of the plant.
“Like I said before, just keep descending until it reaches 218C on the thermometer. I’ll see once you stop and start timing how long you need to wait!”
Hina nodded and slowly descended further and further into the reactor, holding tightly onto the mold. The thermometer rose astronomically fast despite how slowly she descended, and came to a sudden stop the moment it struck 218C. She looked up at the small speck that was Nitori and smiled. She kept track of the time in her head. The minutes ticked on very slowly. Two minutes ticked by when she suddenly felt a presence behind her. She turned around, noticing the hell raven staring intently at her.
“Hey, who are you and what are you doing in here? Wait is that food? A gift for me? That’s nice, thanks!”
She slowly moved forward to grab the mold, but Hina swiftly moved it away.
“I’m sorry uh… miss hell raven. This is for me and my friend-”
“Hey, come on, just give it!” She swiped for the mold as Hina suddenly dashed backwards.
“I told you, it’s not yours-”
“Stop being so mean!” All of the sudden she sent a flury of danmaku flying straight towards Hina. She gasped and quickly dove beneath it all, while carefully making sure not to upset the cooking cake. Utsuho grew frustrated and fired another barrage of massive orb-like danmaku at her, Hina barely grazing by, carefully balancing herself and the cake.
“Just give it already!” She brought forward her cannon and prepared to fire a shot, until suddenly a massive orb of water slammed atop of her. She remained soaked only for moments before quickly drying off, but looked up to Nitori.
“Utshuo, get back to work! I wouldn’t want to report this to Lady Kanako, would I?”
The raven pouted, staring at the delicious cooking chocolate cake.
“No… Fine, I’ll get back to work…”
She slowly descended back into the reactor. The last few remaining minutes passed without interference as Nitori called for Hina to come back up. When she returned, the scent of chocolate wafted through the air, bringing joy to the two of them.
“Oh boy, I can’t wait to dig in!”
“Hold on, it’s still hot. Let’s wait for it to cool, and get proper utensils at your shack as well.”
“Yeah, good idea-”
Nitori suddenly collapsed onto the ground. Hina gasped at first, but then giggled at the sight as Nitori slept softly.
“I knew staying up all night wasn’t good for your health…”
Nitori suddenly lurched awake, the scent of chocolate still flooding the air. She looked around, noticing she was back in her shack, nicely tucked into her cot. In front of her was the cake nicely placed on a plate as Hina prepared the counter forks and plates. She climbed out of her cot and walked over.
“Hina… What happened? And what is this all for?”
“I told you, staying up all night isn’t good for you. Don’t drink that soda before bed, all right?”
Nitori looked wryly at her.
“All right… But the cake?”
She cut a slice and placed it on a plate, handing it to Nitori.
“Try it for yourself.” She said with a smile. Nitori took the fork and quickly took a bite. As the taste of soft, moist, chocolate cake filled her mouth, her face filled with what could only be described as absolute glee. She continued to worf down the rest of the cake as fast as possible, taking in every last bit of that delicious chocolatey taste. Hina, meanwhile had slowly taken her first bite, smiling widely slowly taking in every flavor of the delicious cake.
“HINA THIS IS SO GOOOOOOOD! C’MON, GET ME ANOTHER SLICE!”
“Oh dear, I know! It’s been forever since I had something this sweet!”
Nitori quickly helped herself to another slice and was about to dig in, until she noticed Hina savoring every bite. She took a single bite herself, letting the flavor and texture of the cake disperse in her mouth.
“Wow… That’s a much better way at eating the cake too…”
Hina turned and smiled.
“I was about to say, you should slow down when eating. Good on you!”
She patted her on the head, Nitori giggling in response.
The two continued to eat until Nitori was back in her cot, sleeping happily with a face stained with chocolate. Only around half of the cake remained as Hina cleaned up the last of the dishes. She carefully divided the rest of the cake and wrapped them all up. It was getting rather late outside, the sun finally setting, and she had one last errand to run. She first flew to Bunbunmaru Newspaper Headquarters, handing a slice to Aya and apologizing for the mess Nitori made. Next was the human schoolhouse. Keine was delighted to see Hina once more, and even more delighted when she gave her a slice of the cake her milk helped bake. Lastly, she returned to the fusion plant, offering Utshuo a slice as well. The raven happily accepted it and gobbled it down, thanking the goddess for the gift. Soon the moon was peeking over the horizon, and she returned to Nitori’s shack. She left the last remaining slice of cake wrapped up on the counter, and walked towards the happily sleeping Nitori. She made sure to properly tuck in the kappa into her cot, and gave her a nice, long hug. Noticing her exhaustion, she searched around, finding a second cot among Nitori’s piles of stuff. She unrolled it next to her and climbed into it. Sleep slowly overtook her as she silently smiled at the happy sleeping kappa.